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16 killed in militant ambush

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CHINAR, Pakistan – Militants armed with assault rifles ambushed a convoy of civilian vehicles, killing 16 people yesterday in northwestern Pakistan, the scene of extensive military operations targeting Islamist insurgents. Several people also were wounded in the attack in Char Khel village in the troubled tribal region of Kurram. The travellers were heading to the main northwestern city of Peshawar in vehicles when they were ambushed. Kurram has witnessed scores of such attacks, robberies and kidnappings for ransom in the past three years. Military offensives have left Pakistan’s army tied up in most of the tribal belt as well as in the Swat Valley, also in the country’s northwest. Even after major operations have ended in some of these areas, militant activity has continued. The army has moved primarily against the Pakistani Taliban network, which is distinct from the Afghan Taliban factions, though it shares many of the same Islamist and anti-Western goals. (AP)